THE FORMAL GARDENS > >
St Fagans Castle and its gardens lie in the discrete eastern part of the Museum grounds. Within the boundary walls, the 7 hectares of formal and semi-formal displays show the type of garden that developed around the houses of the gentry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The formal gardens are approached via the semi-formal landscaped arboretum and pine-tree walk towards the elegant sculpted terraces of the castle itself. Many of these features are original to the site: the fishponds, which lie below the castle terraces, were initially used to produce fish for the table, and are thought to be mediaeval, whilst just upstream lies the Water Garden, which was designed and constructed by the eminent Victorian designer James Pulham. The formal terraces themselves were completed in 1871, and feature white cast iron urns on the stone balustrading, overlooking roses trellises, with specimen tree varieties, such as the magnificent fern-leafed beech.
Next to the castle is the more formal layout of the Parterre, with divided areas enclosed in low box hedging and a central fountain. This parterre forms a quarter of a larger rectangular garden, which also includes a bowling green, thyme garden and knot garden, showing how gardens were divided before more informal landscape gardening became fashionable.
The Rosery as it appears today has been recreated as it appeared when it was originally laid out in 1899, based on original photographs of the castle and formal gardens taken between 1890 and 1915, together with the original plan and a complete list of roses grown at the time. One of the most fragrant areas of the formal gardens, the Rosery combines displays of original Tea, Hybrid Perpetual and Hybrid Tea roses in both beds and trellises, with a central circular canal surrounding a bay arbour.
One of the most recent projects on site, the Italian Garden is situated behind high stone walls near the Castle. Originally a very private garden, the simple rectangular shape includes grass steps and terraces; its 'Italianate' air is enhanced by the use of orange trees, colourful herbaceous borders and a serene water feature.